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Microsoft will remove apps that do not comply with new age rating rules

Microsoft will be removing apps from the Windows Store that do not comply with the International Age Rating Coalition's (IARC) rating system. The company has warned developers that apps and games not rated with the new age system by September 30 will be removed from the Windows Store. The new system, as noted by Neowin, makes it easier for developers to have their content comply with regional authorities like PEGI and ESRB without having to configure multiple ratings.

Instead of selecting a rating, developers have to fill out a survey that will take into account answers to provide ratings for various bodies, including:

  • Classification Board (ACB) in Australia
  • Classificação Indicativa (ClassInd) in Brazil
  • Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) in North America
  • Pan European Game Information (PEGI) in Europe
  • Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (USK) in Germany
  • International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) for general purpose

Those who have not yet moved to the new system and have their apps and games signed off will see listings pulled later in the year. It's certainly a solid move by Microsoft for consumers who will be able to enjoy a safer experience on the Windows Store, knowing younger audiences will be able to access apps and games that are suited to their age group.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

63 Comments
  • Like we already have enough...
  • This is more important than the number of apps.
  • It's not about being important or not. The rate system is quite good already. But imagine a dev that has his app there and it works fine without updates all the time. The app might be removed and lost in the black dust cause of that.
  • i dont see an issue with it, its not like their not being warned about it. i rather my son download games that are appropiate that i set to his account and not have to worry he downloading a game he shouldn't. if a developer doesn't do it then thats there fault for their apps as you say "removed and lost in the black dust".
  • Most game devs are compliant its just their making more work for app devs wtf
  • It will get rid of thousands of spam apps which the store is loaded with. And if a dev doesn't care enough to acknowledge MS contacting them then I'm sure other apps will fill their gap. In fact, there's likely good apps out there but the store is so flooded with horrible stuff it's hard to find. I had one developer that literally had over 100 apps that did nothing. It's like they were purposely spamming MS.
  • The dev doesn't care, but the people who still use the app will.
  • Dev here. The process is quick enough. I received an email telling me I have to change the rating for my app. Only someone who doesn't care anymore about the app could ignore it.
  • Yeah, not bad to fill out... Though they probably should have just made it mandatory for games and new apps/updates to occur then.
  • if they are going to place a penalty why not just assign [NOT RATED] or make it available for 18+ as pre-caution?    
  • Lol especially for apps it would make more sense then wasting the resources of these game rating organizations for something not related to gaming. Time for them to boycott windows store
  • Got the email, this morning
    Will see how easy it is to update my apps
  • Remove all apps and shut Microsoft store. Sell your whole mobile software division to google
  • How about we sell you to Venus?
  • Google has the same rating system. You can even import the rating generated in another store if you don't want to answer the questionary over again.
  • Censorship and monolithic control over content. This is exactly what PCs are supposed to be, right?
  • Um. Age ratings are censorship now?
  • "will remove apps" Such an open platform, LMAO.
  • That do not comply with the new age rating system.
    I defecate regularly. I am censoring **** in my body, right?
  • Peculiar definition of "censorship", but taking it where its coming from..
  • I think it is a good move. We have a lot of Abandonware in the Store, so it is an easy way to get rid of those apps.
  • Abandonware isn't all crap you know. This is going to be a problem. I'm all for the crap apps being removed, but there are many apps that are perfectly fine, and work great, but have been abandonded by the developers for some reason. ​Just because an app hasn't been updated in some times, doesn't mean it's crap and should be removed
  • the question is would you want an app that hasnt been update in days, weeks, months or even more than a year expecilly if you paid for it? it make it worse when you update ytour device wether if be an updated OS or a new device with the update OS, it may not work as good as it did.
  • Incredibly stupid move. Only games should be subject to this. And only searches of the store should be affected. Apps should be delisted, not actually removed. There are MANY great apps that people actually care about that will be lost when this happens. Being unable to reinstall purchased non-game apps just because of an unneeded age rating is asinine. Microsoft should be trying to attract developers, not coercing them. How about reducing the store's cut or deferring it? It seems the deliberate efforts to kill Windows Phone continue.
  • It's a simple questionary. It shouldn't take more than 10 minutes to answer it. They don't even need to upload anything nor rebuild anything. I have an old WP7 app not updated in ages and I just have to submit the answers to the questionary without need to generate or upload a new build..
  • I have no problem with that. But why should users suffer for developers who refuse to take the time, or, who simply NO LONGER EXIST due to leaving the market, closing/changing e-mail addresses, or any other reason? If the goal was to "protect the children", Microsoft could have easily hidden non-compliant apps from searches or browsing. There are better ways to get rid of junk apps that would not impact people who actually still use Windows Phone -- something Microsoft is making increasingly difficult to do.
  • It's a simple questionnaire. You certify that the app doesn't contain hate language, pornographic material, you are not stealing personal data etc. I don't see how is this negative.  
  • That's why there are not google apps in the store, they would be removed lol
  • This will make a lot of good but abandoned apps disappear. Waze anyone?
  • Apps that you have already installed will be available from Your Library. If they have been abandoned, they won't become any better with time either. And if you haven't installed them yet, you won't miss them.
  • And when we switch phones many apps we use will not be installable. Big customer win. /s
  • Your library stays on your MSFT account.
  • Apps that have been removed from the store can't be reinstalled -- even if you restore your device from backup. What's your point?
  • Not true for all removed apps. I can install 6snap beta for example. My point is that being age-rating-compliant is more important than being available.
  • What do you base that opinion on? I think being able to actually use my phone is more important. And as I stated, simply hiding non-compliant apps from searches and listings would accomplish the same thing without hurting those of us who use abandoned apps.
  • Not for an app that has been removed from the store.
  • 6snap beta has been removed.
  • A hard reset or phone upgrade will cause you to loose the app.
  • If Waze is removed we'll just hear all about how it it was worthless, no one ever used it, good riddance, etc. The usual repertoire.
  • Waze sucks big time... Almost useless in my opinion
  • I wish they would remove the obviously fake and otherwise garbage apps first. The Store needs a thorough cleaning.
  • Sometimes I feel like MS is a gf.. Acting stupid, silly and totally incomprehensible.. *Disappointed* :/
  • Totally agree with you bro x)
  • If gf means girlfriend, well....maybe you need to be wiser in your girlfriend endeavors because before marriage, I didn't have stupid, silly and totally incomprehensible girlfriends. I tried my best to dodge anyone that wasn't compatible with who I was at the time. Don't generalize girlfriends, whether good or bad, because you can only speak of your experience with girlfriends. All girlfriends are not the same just like when some women say "All men are dogs!". Now, if your usage of "gf" doesn't mean girlfriend, then...well...don't generalize whatever gf you are talking about. :)
  • Nanny staters will be pleased
  • Do we even have 18+ apps ?!!
  • I better go fill out the form then or my 2 users will be unhappy!
  • haha
  • Seems like MS is doing everything to empty the store. Many left and keep leaving the store and now it's MSs turn to act, again.
  • Guys, it's a simple questionary. You don't even need to build or submit new builds. I have an old WP7 app which is technically abandonware but I just answer the questions and that's all. It doesn't take more than 10 minutes                                
  • Doooom and glooooom /s
  • It's a big selling point for the platform if the Microsoft Family features and the age restrictions are working nicely. Unfortunately when I tried it for my 4 year old, loads of apps always failed to install with "Something went wrong..." errors (including most Microsoft apps), and even the age restrictions were not always correctly applied.  Some rated as "3+" couldn't be installed by a 4 year old due to age restrictions - nnnnng!  Maybe it all works fine in the US... Anyway, the Dell Venue 8 Pro he was using is now a paperweight, because he plugged the USB cable in upside-down, and amazingly Dell used a rectangular socket with a normal curved microUSB cable, ffs!  Massive design flaw which, by the way, should've been mentioned in reviews as a major negative. Now he's using a Google Nexus tablet with a bazillion more apps, but seeing video adverts for games about murder, so that's brilliant too.  It shouldn't be this difficult.    
  • this is a dick move this will just remove old apps bye bye wp7 users  
  • Except they are pulling Kids Corner which is the best place to put age restricted apps.
  • Can't believe some people in THIS site bash Microsoft because they're going to "remove some apps" even if it was in a right cause. You guys need to learn how to read an article as a whole -_-
  • Apps by developers who no longer support the platform or care about it will go away, like it or not at least you'll know apps that are in the store after September 30th are at least somewhat still supported by their developers
  • Goodbye to most WP7 and WP8 apps.....
  • I don't like this.
    I feel like a bunch of older apps which may have no been updated in a while, not been paid attention too by devs, however are still useful or cute apps will get brushed off because of this. Ugh.
  • I just came here to read comments, and leave this one.
  • I did the age rate to my 5 apps and took 10 minutes. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I think Microsoft should fix bugs in share it app on windows 10 mobile... It crashing and malfunctioning when transferring or receives data...
  • That's not MSFT's job really.
    Its the ShareIt developers that need to fix issues. And in any case, its a good app. MUCH better than Xender.
    For receiving files, use WEBSHARE from the senders phone. Just scan the QR code from a decent app and go to Edge. Its FASTER than the shareit sharing.
  • It made me feel embarrass in front of the android users..